Driving change across industries

Deakin is building on it's globally significant research in materials, fibre, food, chemistry and engineering to establish a Circular Economy Initiative that will support the development of new industries and jobs, reduce emissions and increase the efficient use of natural resources including energy, water and raw materials.

Food and agriculture industry

A key to addressing the food waste issue is to transform it into high value products using a bio-refinery approach.

Agricultural waste can also contain highly valuable chemical and material components which, if properly extracted or processed, can be reused as economically viable and desirable feedstocks. There are also abundant, non-processed biomasses (such as seaweed) that are not being utilised effectively and with appropriate processing can provide significant value.

Textiles and the fashion industry

The future of the textile and fashion industry will be dependent on transitioning to sustainable practices along the full supply chain and the development of a circular textile economy. The development and introduction of innovative new fibre materials, sustainable processing and treatment options and novel recycling technologies will all be critical elements of the transition process and required to position industry at the leading edge of a growing global shift towards sustainable textiles and fashion.

Our focus areas include:

  • developing materials with extraordinary functionality, following circular economy principles
  • developing new materials and processes to prolong the useful life of textiles and lower the textile industry environmental footprint
  • developing novel ways to repurpose and recycle textile waste.

Download the fibres and textiles capability statement


New equipment installed at Waurn Ponds as part of the Circular Economy Initiative will open up an exciting new avenue for the recycling of chipped and mixed metal scrap. It will also create potential for a revolution in metal repair, which is likely to be particularly valuable for the mining industry. The CEI will provide the opportunity to add new reinforcement materials into metals, reduce contamination and enhance quality.

Our primary research pillars include the development of alloys and metals, and repurposing, processing and recycling technologies with a circular philosophy. Our goal is to re-design traditional alloys and processes to create products with retained value over multiple life cycles.

Download the advanced alloys capability statement

Carbon fibre industry

The CEI will take a leading role in the development of market-ready solutions for the recycling of carbon fibre and its by-products. Innovative, industry-ready solutions could unlock further market growth for carbon fibre, such as the recycling of carbon fibre derived from end-of-life products and production wastes, and identifying avenues to develop value-added applications for recycled composites.

Download the carbon fibres capability statement

Energy products

The demand for energy storage is increasing not only for portable devices but for electrical vehicles and renewable energy applications. Our priorities include: re-designing batteries for increased safety and ease of critical component recovery; repurposing batteries for next life and other innovative applications; recycling and recovering valuable metals.

Download the energy storage technologies capability statement

Photovoltaic panels

  • Development of green chemistry approaches for the recovery of critical components
  • Development of a commercially scalable process for re-purposing high purity PV recycled silicon in lithium-ion and dual-ion hybrid devices
  • Development of new and novel commercial applications for recovered silicon and glass

Download the energy storage materials capability statement

Regional and national growth

The Geelong region is successfully redefining itself as an advanced manufacturing hub through the growth of the carbon fibre industry and a focus on advanced materials innovation in particular.

The Circular Economy Initiative will continue to accelerate this growth in a range of industry sectors. It will facilitate the development and expansion of new business streams to create jobs in the region, with an eye to national and international reach. The establishment of the CEI as an industry-aligned, purpose-designed, flexible, scale-up facility will greatly enhanced scope for corporate investment and partnerships as well as the engagement of governments.

Collaboration and partnerships

The engagement of local and international industry partners with leading researchers will accelerate the speed and level of innovation for building a true circular economy. These connections will also enhance our ability to create far-reaching transformational benefits for society.

Deakin and the CSIRO will expand collaboration with local companies and build on extensive existing international research partnerships with China, the U.S. and Europe to leverage the capacities required to address major issues and opportunities in this critical field. Tailored, flexible IP and commercialisation arrangements will encourage co-creation and collaboration while providing incentives for multidisciplinary participation in the development and application of innovative technologies.

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If you'd like to learn more about our projects, connect with our researchers or discuss partnership opportunities, we'd love to hear from you.

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